One reason there are few bidders at foreclosure sales is that it is next to impossible to get financing for such a property. You generally need to show up with cash and lots of it, or a line of credit with your bank upon which you can draw cashier's checks.
If you’re thinking of refinishing your project, take a close look at it first. Antiques (or potential antiques) deserve special consideration. Always try to restore the old finish rather than stripping down to bare wood. Stripping an antique can destroy the soft mellowed look wood gets with age (patina) as well as depreciate considerably its value.